Regulation & Compliance

Most renovations will need a building consent. You’ll need to apply to a building consent authority (BCA) and demonstrate that the planned renovation complies with the Building Code.

The Code sets out the minimum levels of performance that must be achieved in areas such as weathertightness, durability, thermal performance and so on. 

When you apply for a consent, you’ll need to demonstrate how that performance is going to be achieved. The building consent authority will assess the plans and other information you provide and determine whether the Code’s performance requirements will be met if the building work is carried out as planned.

Even if you don’t need a building consent, the building work will still need to comply with the Code.

In general, the Building Code requirements only apply to the parts of the building you are renovating. You don’t have to bring other areas up to the standards required in the Code. The one exception is smoke alarms – the Code requires that all new houses and all existing houses undergoing alteration have smoke alarms installed. Even if you’re not required to, it can be a good idea to carry out upgrading work such as installing insulation while you are renovating.

Be aware that after a building is altered, the Building Act requires that it comply with the Building Code to at least the same extent as it did before the work was done.

Through the following links, we set out processes to help you find out about compliance requirements, determine how to comply, and demonstrate compliance to the satisfaction of the building consent authority.

Building Code requirements

The first step towards compliance is identifying the relevant Building Code requirements. Read more.

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Compliance paths

Nine ways to demonstrate that your planned renovations comply with the Building Code. Read more.

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Dealing with building consent authorities

How to apply for a building consent, and understand building consent authority decisions. Read more.

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Compliance case studies

These case studies show how to choose and apply a compliance path. Read more.

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Code compliance for partial renovations

Code compliance can be a grey area issue for partial renovations. Read more.

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When you don't need a building consent

Renovations don’t always need a building consent, and not having to apply for a consent can save a lot of time and money. Read more.

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Contracts and consumer protection

There are new rules around building contracts and putting things right for clients. Read more.

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Heritage houses and areas

You need to be aware of any heritage protection rules that may apply to particular buildings or neighbourhoods. Read more.

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Areas of natural hazards

Renovation of a building in an area subject to natural hazards may not be possible, or may be tightly restricted. Read more.

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Earthquake-prone buildings

New rules have been developed around the definition of earthquake-prone buildings and the requirements for them to be seismically strengthened. Read more.

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While workplace health and safety laws apply to all building jobs, in some renovation work – removing or replacing asbestos, for example – there are specific risks and requirements that you must be aware of. Read more.

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Rental properties

There are specific requirements for residential properties that are rented out that don’t apply to owner-occupied homes. Read more.

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Change of use

Renovations sometimes involve changing the use of a space or even a whole building. A basement once used for storage may become another bedroom, or a large shed may be converted into a self-contained rental flat. In cases like these there are special requirements to be aware of. Read more.